mobile technology

Work and leisure move and shape the hospitality industry. Now, those components are also shaping the world of mobile technology. Our hand-held devices are ruling our business and personal lives on an ever-increasing level.

Technology has forever changed how we interact with each other on a daily level, but the advent of mobile devices has further complicated how we all communicate. Some of us long for the “good old days” when we had more face-to-face communication and now it seems like we only see each other on social media sites. Our important information, some contained in books and other valuable data, all existed on paper and today our dwindling resources simply can’t afford this type of waste.

As time marches on, so does technology. Staying current in today’s information age has now gone mobile and sometimes it seems harder than ever to keep up with the pace. Here are four ways that mobile tech has changed business communications in the hospitality industry, as well as some pros and cons of those changes:

MULTIPLE DEVICES: While it’s safe to say that nearly all guests carry at least one mobile device, the number of people who travel with upwards of 2 or more devices continues to increase as well, especially as they become more affordable to the public.

  • Pro: Flexibility and Compatibility. With multiple devices, the customer has the option of choosing how they wish to communicate and which method they will utilize. Different types of compatibility means that a smartphone can often perform tasks that a tablet cannot and vice versa.
  • Con: Confusion and Illusion: Given two, three and sometimes more different devices, consumers can be easily confused about what device they used for which transaction. While they have the illusion of control, monitoring all these networks can be challenging not to mention keeping them all charged and at their fingertips.

VIRTUAL CHECK-IN AND RESERVATIONS: We’ve all seen them at the airport — those types of automated kiosks will become more commonplace in hotels and restaurants.

  • Pro: Convenient, Money and Time Saving: This type of automation will cut down on time and staffing while allowing the customer a faster, more convenient way of making a reservation, checking in or placing an order.
  • Con: Understanding and Annoyance: Complete or partial removal of the “human” element could irk our guests. Sometimes our customers want or need to speak with an actual person who can understand their dilemma or address a problem.

MOBILE STAFF: Just as we are all carrying and using our mobile devices, expect to see more staff members utilizing them as well.

  • Pro: Efficient and Easy to Locate: Staff members armed with hand-held devices will be more efficient, easier to locate and also they can find or meet their customers at almost any location on their mobile device.
  • Con: Occupied and Unavailable: Here’s an example, many retailers now have employees with “walkies” or earpieces anchored to them and they may be having a conversation with their supervisor while a customer is expected to be waited on. This comes off looking rude and uncaring from the perspective of our customer.

ACCESSIBILITY: Our guests now expect to have complete, wireless accessibility to their mobile devices whether they are at a restaurant or hotel.

  • Pro: Customers Who Help Themselves: With this type of accessibility, people will usually find the information or service that they need on their device rather than calling the front desk or questioning their server. Some apps will also allow guests to control their environment, adjusting the temperature, changing the TV channel and ordering room service are some great examples.
  • Con: Helping them Help Themselves: While providing wireless service shouldn’t be a tremendous cost issue, many businesses may have to do some remodeling to accommodate their guests in other ways. Providing enough wireless access points and adding more or conveniently located electrical outlets for charging their devices are two examples.

Keeping an eye on our customers, satisfying our guests and keeping them happily engaged can be easily accomplished as long as we keep our finger on the pulse of mobile technology.

This post was contributed by Dave Landry Jr., a business writer with a strong background in finances and marketing. In addition to following the tech industry and researching how it has impacted business communications, his writing also covers the globalization of business, virtual technology and media marketing.